Comedy stars pay tribute to Garry Shandling, creator of the Larry Sanders Show

Ricky Gervais, John Cleese, Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Martin, Amy Schumer, Whoopi Goldberg, Ben Stiller and countless more shared their feelings following news that the influential comedian has died suddenly aged 66

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US comedian Garry Shandling has died aged 66, following what appears to be a heart attack, and tributes from the world of comedy on both sides of the pond show what an influential and well-loved character he was.

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Shandling was a hugely successful stand-up and writer but was best known for creating and starring in 90s hit The Larry Sanders Show. Set both behind the scenes and in front of the camera on a fictional talk show, it blurred the lines between invention and reality with documentary-style backstage footage and celebrity interviews that were indistinguishable from the real thing.

It was the precursor to series like 30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Ricky Gervais’s The Office, to name but a few, but arguably paved the way for much of modern comedy.

Gervais was among stars also including his Office co-creator Stephen Merchant and Jeffrey Tambor – who played Shandling’s much-abused sidekick Hank on The Larry Sanders Show – to pay tribute to the great man.

Steve Martin, Amy Schumer, Whoopi Goldberg, John Cleese, Kathy Griffin, Billy Crystal, Bob Odenkirk and Ben Stiller were among numerous other stars who had known and been influenced by Shandling, with many at pains to point out that he was loved as much for his kindness as his comedy…

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Contains swearing